The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 48 Hampstead and Highgate

Hampstead 2

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Flask Walk, diverging to the left (north-east) from High St., immediately below the station, leads to Well Walk, with a modern drinking fountain, reminiscent of the springs that once made Hampstead fashionable. Nothing remains of the original Pump Room here, but the 'Long Room' of the later establishment (built 1734-53) is incorporated in Weatherall House, at the south end of Well Walk. Wellside, on the other side of the street, at the entrance to Gainsborough Gardens, bears a tablet claiming to mark the site of the Old Pump Room. John Keats lived in Well Walk with his two brothers in 1816 (house near the site of No. 30), and he returned to it in 1817 for a time before joining his friend Brown at Wentworth Place. Constable, the painter, had his home here (No. 5, now No. 40) from 1826 to 1837. Well Walk debouches on the East Heath, not far from the Vale of Health. It was the Long Room that was visited by Miss Burney's 'Evelina,' when Mr. Smith escorted her to the Hampstead Assembly. Adjoining Weatherall House, but standing back from the road, is the interesting Burgh House (1703), with a handsome old wrought-iron gate (in New End Square). From the Tube Station the lower part of Heath Street (north part) descends on the south to Fitzjohn's Avenue, leading to Swiss Cottage Station. In this direction we soon reach Church Row (right), with its picturesque Georgian houses. Mr. and Mrs. Barbauld lived at No. 8 for some years after 1785. St. John's Church, dating from 1745-47, contains a bust of Keats, by Miss Anne Whitney, of Boston, Mass. (presented by some American admirers in 1894). Coventry Patmore was married here to his first wife, the inspirer of 'The Angel in the House.' In the south-east corner of the churchyard, close to the wall, is the altar tomb of John Constable (1776-1837), the landscape painter, who found many of his subjects in Hampstead. The path opposite leads north towards a yew-tree, under the south side of which is the tomb of Sir James Mackintosh (1765-1832), the philosopher. A little to the north-east of this, near the path skirting the east wall of the churchyard, is the altar-tomb of Joanna Baillie (1762-1851), the dramatist, and her centenarian sister. John Harrison (1693-1776), inventor of the chronometer for determining longitude at sea, is buried near the south side of the church. In an extension of the churchyard on the other side of the street are the graves of George du Maurier (1834-96) and Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree (1853-1917), both seen from the road, and Sir Walter Besant (1836-1901; west side, near the middle). Holly Walk here leads to the north, passing a Roman Catholic Chapel built in 1814 for French refugees. The young R. L. Stevenson shared rooms with Sidney Colvin in 1874 in Abernethy House, at the corner of Holly Walk and Mount Vernon. Picturesque ways lead hence (right) to Holly Hill and High St. or Mount Vernon Hospital and the Heath and (left) to Frognal.